He laid back in his chair, hands resting on the knees, legs crossed at the end of the long wood table. His demeanor is calm as he reaches for his cup of joe, looking out toward the main parking lot out of his big glass office made for a king. He overlooks a busy campus, students walking from class-to-class and buses coming to drop and pick up students. To him, this picture is a perfect image of what a thriving campus looks like. However, things weren’t picture perfect for President Foster when he first stepped into presidency in 2020.
Life isn’t a movie. It’s not scripted, things get derailed and you’re always having to improvise. President Foster is no exception. His time serving as the head of Las Positas College has posed a tremendous amount of improv. When he took over as President in February of 2020, his plans for equity and growth within the community of LPC were derailed by the pandemic. This was the first of many rewrites in President Foster’s script for LPC, however, his vision remained the same.
Moving forward three years, it would be hard to imagine that LPC went back to in-person classes and still thrived in the hybrid system for learning. Beyond the in-person classes returning, LPC also thrived in constructing many new buildings and student centers. That’s only the beginning of how LPC has turned around with President Foster leading the charge. Along with the construction of the Black student union center and the new academic support building, LPC was ranked the No. 1 community college in California and sixth in the nation. Although his original script may have been torn and rewritten by fate, Foster has continued to keep pushing to make sure his students and faculty are successful.
“It’s driven by student experience and I don’t think we are successful if we have students that leave us and aren’t prepared for the four year. There’s things we can do better but there are things that we are doing great.” he said.
President Foster has had a good turnaround with Las Positas College in the three years of his contract. He is still expanding his horizons for Las Positas’s success with an addition, and awaiting approval for grants to start building housing for students. Foster understands that housing in the LPC area doesn’t match the students’ income level. With LPC’s high international student population, Foster has been very passionate about providing affordable housing for the students.
“There’s always been a master plan, and part of me stepping in is continuing our great work that was here before,” Foster said. “It’s a great opportunity for our students and our community.”
There has always been a master map of buildings for Las Positas, but now more than ever it feels that this could be reality due to Foster.
“This work never ends,” Foster said. “I can’t imagine I’ll be at a place where in ten years I say we made it! We did everything we needed to do. There’s so much that needs to be done for us”
He is always looking to the future for the students here at LPC, and what can be done to further develop the community for success. It’s hard to be a leader. It’s even harder to be a leader when everything you do is under a microscope. This hasn’t stopped President Foster though in his journey to help Las Positas be number one in the state. He has pushed very hard at making sure young students see success pass Las Positas college with workshops for admissions and safe spaces for students to intervene with each other.
In his three years, Foster has overcome the challenges with Covid, enrollment and social justice issues in the community.
“ I think our biggest success was we turned around our campus from mostly in person environments to full online in a matter of 4 days.” He said
With all of this in mind, his contract is set to expire in 2023. President Foster now looks to the future.
“Yes absolutely,” he stated about his contract. “I’m coming back…I’ve made good progress here with the difficulties in my tenure,” Foster said.
“I’m confident with the goals that have been set here. I love Las Positas College. I love being here!”
President Foster’s picture perfect script has added another act.
C.J. Flores is a freelance writer for the Express.
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